New Japan Pro Wrestling To Expand Into The United States With New Japan Pro Wrestling Of America
As the month of October comes to a close, American wrestling fans and wrestling fans in general are adjusting to their new viewing schedules.
There is wrestling on television or streaming every single day of the week, with pay per views and live events cutting into even more time for those that are completionists. Never has there been a time where more alternatives to WWE has been available at our fingertips and in most communities.
New Japan Pro Wrestling is the number two promotion in the world and a rising force in America. After patterning with Ring Of Honor for most of this decade, NJPW has carved out its own American fan base that is growing annually.
The next step in growing the company and the fan base in America is now here. New Japan Pro Wrestling of America has entered the crowded market of the American pro wrestling scene. With NJPWA opening in November of this year.
At a press conference delivered to assembled media on October 21, New japan Pro-Wrestling formally announced the establishment of a US based subsidiary. Named New Japan Pro-Wrestling of America, the company will be based in California and begin operations in November.
Name: New Japan Pro-Wrestling of America, Incorporated
Chairman: Naoki Sugabayashi
CEO: Takami Ohbari
CFO: Michiaki Nishizawa
COO: Kaname Tezuka
Base: California, US
Operations begin: November 2019 (planned)
Ownership: 100% owned by new Japan Pro-Wrestling
CEO Ohbari gave a presentation detailing the structure of NJPW of America, and the decision making behind its establishment. The creation of the subsidiary, Ohbari explained, is the third phase of NJPW’s expansion into the US and other international markets.
Phase one: discovering new wrestlers in markets outside Japan and developing talent through the LA Dojo.
Phase two: run events in the US, including at Madison Square Garden and Dallas this year, both independently, and with the assistance of other promotions.
Phase three: establish a company within the US, and be ingrained in the everyday fabric when it comes to fans’ wrestling consciousness.
Ohbari went on to explain what had to come next as NJPW of America moves forward. Growing a footprint and increased consciousness in America will become a key factor, especially as competing cash rich promotions are being established. Ohbari explained that fans of NJPW are strongly invested in the concepts of Strong Style and the high level of wrestling that New Japan provides and is farmed by Dojos in Noge and LA. The majority of fans surveyed during the recent Dallas event stated that they watched other wrestling besides NJPW, and that they still expressed a preference to the different style and approach that New Japan presents.
To those ends, NJPW of America will be putting live events at the core of its business within the US. Just like fans in Japan currently, the goal will be for American fans to experience NJPW up close and in person on a regular basis. This will all happen under the name and branding of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, maintaining the brand that fans know and love as-is.
The touring structure for NJPW of America will see events being run in five key areas:
WEST: 6 cities across 4 states
MID: 7 cities across 6 states
TEXAS: 4 cities
SOUTH EAST: 6 cities across 4 states
EAST: 4 cities across 3 states
With this in mind, the plan will be for the majority of the US fanbase- some 70% according to market research- to be able to attend an NJPW event and see New Japan action near to them.
Ohbari went onto explain the benefits that fans both in Japan and America can expect to experience from the establishment of NJPW of America. The Japanese fans will not be abandoned, but rather the expansion will see benefits on both sides of the Pacific.
While the LA Dojo has existed solely as a Dojo up to now, it will now see a full office environment that is designed to support business in the States, as well as to support talent. Perhaps wrestlers who have what it takes and have a passion for NJPW, but for whatever reason are unable to perform in Japan, will be able to represent NJPW in America.
At the same time, tryouts and camps will ensure new talent is discovered, developed and trained to the point where they can perform in both America and Japan. This will lead to a deeper roster of talent and better matches and events going forward.
The main idea will be that US events will take place while the Japanese schedule is between tours. If there is high demand from fans, simultaneous tours may become a possibility.New Japan World
After the press conference there was a Q&A portion where it was said that they will be looking to run in 2,000 seat arenas for the time being.
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